Episode 9 of Junji Ito Maniac starts with Tsukiko selling photos of good looking boys at school to other students. It’s a lucrative business, although some aren’t too enthused by this. One in particular happens to be Tomie, a new exchange student who has just transferred over.
Tomie calls out Tsukiko for selling these photos for such a high price and, surrounded by two guys, takes Tsukiko’s photos away and warns against continuing this, pointing out that she’ll report it to the teachers if she continues.
As a result, Tsukiko changes tact and finds herself tasked with taking pictures of Tomie instead. She turns to face Tsukiko as the girl is taking pictures and even offers to print them off and place them all up around campus. As Tsukiko continues to snap pictures, claiming that boys would pay over 100,000 yen for this, one of the teachers catches her red-handed.
Tsukiko is concerned, especially when she gets the pictures printed out. The developed pictures are grotesque and very eerie, with some sort of ghostly demon protruding out the side of Tomie’s head.
Tsukiko does spread her photos after all, but Tomie and her two boys are angry and have plans to murder Tsukiko after betraying her trust. Yamazaki – the guy who originally asked her to take pictures of Tomie – is the one to grab Tsukiko in the closet first, choking her out with a wire. After breaking free from his grip, Tsukiko’s luck turns from bad to worse as she’s suspended from school.
Tomie’s cronies are waiting outside her house, while Tomie heads into Tsukiko’s room. Tomie laughs incredulously at the idea of her trying to kill the girl and seems to be pretty mild-mannered… until she snaps.
Tsukiko calls Tomie ill and a hideous monster, prompting her to suddenly turn on a dime. She gets angry, and that second head we saw before bursts out the side of her head.
The two boys hack at it to remove the abscess, but they end up knocking Tomie’s head clean off. All the while, Tsukiko sits and watches, while her camera is up on the mantlepiece.
That night, strange squelching sees Tomie’s headless body move and a new head begins to materialize where the old one was. As she begins heading down the stairs, Tsukiko realizes all her photos have been ruined.
The Episode Review
Tomie is one of Junji Ito’s larger manga volumes, with a whole bunch of stories around this Tomie character. In a way, it’s basically a more gruesome, grotesque version of Thai drama Girl From Nowhere. Within the book, there are numerous volumes all together, depicting different stories surrounding this girl.
Here though, it’s very much a self-contained tale that works rather well, although one can’t help but feel this would have been better as its own collection to really help seep in the feel of the manga.
That aside though, there’s enough to like with this and the art-style is great across the entire episode. With only a few more to go in this one, Junji Ito’s Maniac Collection has been well worth watching.
You can read our full season review for Junji Ito: Maniac here!